18. Editorial Note

In telegram 1408 to Saigon, January 6, McGeorge Bundy informed Maxwell Taylor that his series of cables received earlier that day ( Documents 9 13) had been “carefully discussed at the highest level.” Bundy indicated that the President had asked him to express his warmest thanks to Taylor as well as his intention to give Taylor a reply by the morning of January 8 (Saigon time). (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S)

Under a covering memorandum of January 7 McGeorge Bundy sent the President a draft reply to Taylor’s messages for discussion at a White House meeting scheduled for 4:30 that afternoon. Bundy wrote:

“You can ignore the underlinings—I sent a first and even sketchier draft to Rusk, McNamara, and Ball, and these underlinings are simply for their convenience in noting the suggested changes.”

The attached draft, which is labeled “Draft 2 (changes from Draft 1 underlined)”, bears several revisions in President Johnson’s hand. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Vietnam Country File, NODIS-LOR, Vol. I) The reply as sent to is Taylor is Document 19.

In telegram 1418 to Saigon, January 7, the Department of State noted that further messages in the series initiated by CAP-64375 should henceforth bear the slug “LOR” to “facilitate prearranged highly restricted handling.” Such messages were to be addressed only to the Secretary of State, “since messenger delivery will be utilized here except in most urgent cases.” (Department of State, Central Files,POL 27 VIET S) In telegram 1420 to Saigon, McGeorge Bundy informed Taylor that his recommendation that CINCPAC be included in the distribution of high-level cable traffic on Vietnam had been discussed. Bundy remarked:

“We agree that before final decisions are taken, he should be cut in. But recent leaks in Washington have redoubled determination here that preliminary analyses and decisions be private. For this reason it has been decided that we need to hear your reactions to President’s message of today before circle is enlarged.” (Ibid.)